View of the Algarve town

Located in the southernmost region of Portugal, the Algarve gives visitors a choice of picturesque sandy beaches, beautiful old towns and bustling markets to explore, making it a hotspot for tourists coming from all around the world, including those looking for singles holidays for over 60s. If you’re fortunate enough to be visiting the Algarve, but only have two days to enjoy this glorious coast, it can be difficult to know where to begin. In this guide, we reveal the best way to spend 48 hours in the Algarve.

Day 1

Morning – Visit the Olhao Market

The first morning in the Algarve is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the local culture, and there’s no better place to do this than the bustling market in Olhao. We spoke to Julie from the blog Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal to find out her recommendations: “My advice is to visit Olhao to walk around the busy local market and see some of the street art in the historical centre.”

Catarina from the blog A Portuguese Affair, also tells us: “Get out to a traditional fisherman village, such as Tavira, Olhão, or Vila Real de Santo António. They’re all worth going to and you can experience some of the authenticity you miss out on when you stay in more touristy spots in the Algarve.”

Olhao is the largest fishing port in the Algarve, so expect to see a vast array of fresh seafood at the market, which is also found in restaurants and cafes, each serving up their fish specialities. Along the seafront of the market are many cafes, so if you get peckish after browsing all the stalls, make sure to pop in and refuel with a delicious lunch. The market also sells fruit, vegetables and local sweet treats, stock up on some tasty snacks to keep you satisfied during your trip.

Catarina adds: “I always recommend getting out to local Mercado (farmer’s markets), so you can sample local produce, fish, and sweet treats. The oranges in the Algarve are unparalleled (I guarantee you the best freshly squeezed orange juice in the world is made from Algarve oranges), almonds, tomatoes, figs – all these foods have more flavour there. If you like marzipan, try the doces finos (which also make really cute gifts). Other sweet treats to try are morgados, Dom Rodrigos, and queijos de figo.”

Afternoon – Explore Faro’s old town and national park

Faro's Old Town

A short drive or bus away from Olhao is Faro, the capital of the Algarve region. The city is excellent for those who want to explore on foot, as everything is in walking distance, whether you want to shop, eat or relax on the beach. A must-visit on solo holidays to the area is the historical old town, which you will discover through the beautiful Arco da Vila, an archway made up of stones that leads you to the cobbled street of Faro’s old town.

Julie Dawn Fox tells us more about Faro: “For those interested in culture and nature I’d suggest spending at least half a day exploring the sights in Faro Old Town, such as the cathedral, the city walls and the municipal museum, which contains some wonderful Roman mosaics and artworks representing local legends. Faro’s bone chapel is unforgettable, too!”

Unlike some cities, Faro has a calming atmosphere, but if you’re looking for true peace and quiet, then head to the tranquil Rio Formosa Natural Park. Considered one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal, this park is great for those hoping to spot local wildlife or stroll alongside the beautiful lagoons. Julie adds: “The wetlands and lagoons of the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve also deserve to be explored, whether on foot, by bike or catamaran and there are many tours that offer these experiences.”

Evening – Enjoy a meal in Faro

After a full day of exploring and relaxing by the sea, you’ll be sure to have worked up an appetite, and luckily for you, Faro is filled with cafes and restaurants that serve delicious local cuisine. One hidden gem where you can be sure to find a traditional dish is A Venda, situated in the heart of Faro. The menu changes daily, depending on which fresh produce the restaurant can find at the local markets, however, you can almost be guaranteed to find freshly caught fish on the menu. Alternatively, you could get a table at L’Osteria, a little slice of Italy found on the Algarve, with fresh pizza, pasta and classic Italian specialities on the menu.

Day 2

Morning – Go on a coastal walk at Carvoeiro

Beach view in Portugal

The sandy beach and impressive cliff formations make Carvoeiro the perfect spot for a coastal walk. This is recommended by Sabrina, who wrote an Algarve Travel Guide on the blog Moon & Honey Travel. Sabrina tells us: “If you’re planning a quick 48-hour trip to the Algarve, I’d recommend visiting Carvoeiro. From this picturesque town, you can enjoy the Algarve’s most beautiful beach: Praia do Carvoeiro. You can also hike from Carvoeiro to Ferragudo via Trail of Headlands. This coastal trail is absolutely stunning and very few people know about it. The trail ends at Praia dos Caneiros, a gorgeous beach with a single beachside restaurant: Rei das Praias. Grab lunch here, before hiking back to Carvoeiro.”

Afternoon and evening – Explore bustling Lagos

For your last afternoon and evening in the Algarve, there’s still one more impressive place to visit, Lagos. Similarly, to Faro, this historical city has an old town with an abundance of charm. The city is surrounded by beautiful beaches and coves, and after the sunset, the centre comes alive with a bustling nightlife.

Darren from the travel blog Finding Beyond told us what he would do in two days in the Algarve: “With all the towns to visit and things to do and see, you can jam-pack 48 hours in the Algarve. With only a couple of days, we’d visit Lagos, a small town that offers a varied itinerary and interesting history.

“Check out its old town with winding lanes and quaint squares filled with boutique shops, cafes and restaurants. Spend a few hours at one of Lagos’s many beaches. From long stretches of sand to cute coves, Lagos has a lot of choices. If bathing and swimming isn’t your thing then try walking Lagos’s clifftops for a birds-eye view of all its beaches. And when you reach the end of the trail, you’ll be treated to one of the Algarve’s most stunning natural sites – Ponta da Piedade – where you can hire a kayak to explore. Come night-time, Lagos is one of the best towns in the Algarve for nightlife. From a chilled terrace meal to late night clubs, Lagos has got you covered!”

If you’d like to spend two days exploring the beautiful Algarve, then make sure to check out our Portugal holidays for solo travellers.